Children are settled back at school after
the summer break and it is likely that some will get head lice infection.
It spreads easily amongst children as they hold their heads close together.
Like any infection, it’s a nuisance, but it is normal and should not cause
anxiety or embarrassment to children or parents.
HSE Community Healthcare Organisation Area
1 (Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan & Sligo) are launching a head
lice campaign to give parents and others e.g. schools, GP and pharmacy,
clear information on how to control this infection. Leaflets for parents
give quick tips on how to wet-comb a child’s hair and also the names of
the lotions that should be used if needed. There is also a poster and a
fun comic strip for children, which has interesting facts about head lice
and also introduces a new Super-Hero, ‘Detection Comb Hero’, whose
mission it is to check each child’s hair once a week and use his special
lotion if there is an infection.
Parents are busy and might welcome the idea
that spraying hair with a repellent or using a new shampoo will prevent
head lice, but there is not evidence that either will work. The single
most important thing parents can do is put a new hygiene routine in place;
children already know that ‘teeth get brushed morning and night’,
and now we need to spread the word that ‘hair gets wet-combed once
a week’. This may take longer in the short term, but will pay off
in less distress for the child.
There are a number of products sold for the
treatment of head lice; however the HSE only recommends those that have
been shown to work (names are on the parent leaflet). The treatment should
only be used if a living louse is seen. If so, check all close family members
also. Apply the lotion treatment and always repeat it one week later. As
with all infections, talk to your GP, nurse or pharmacist if the infection
is not going away.